• Steve Le Page

Rooted to thrive-1

Rooted to Thrive is our new teaching series. If we want to thrive in every aspect of our lives, we need to be 'rooted in Christ'. Before the teaching was brought on our online service today, the Bible passage was read from Colossians 2:1-10 from The Message translation. You might like to stop and read it now from the link before continuing.

During the talk, I introduced a friend, Basil. This is Basil!

Basil is doing remarkably well! Plants coming into the house of Steve and Julie are normally facing a sentence of death! Remarkably, inspite of having some of his leaves pinched over the last month or so he has been with us, he has grown! It seems he is thriving, even if at times he hasn’t received the treatment he should have done and has flagged somewhat. He’s not living in an ideal home – a Persimmon’s welcome to your new home mug, but inspite of not being in ideal conditions, he seems to be thriving! This is because he is well rooted, even though the circumstances surrounding him are not the best!

As a Leadership, we believe without a doubt that God wants us to thrive, whatever the circumstances we are in! Jesus said, ‘I have come that you might have life and that you might have it to the full.’ John 10:10

He doesn’t promise us a life of bliss, free of any problems, in fact he speaks of the opposite, of facing struggles and persecution, of taking up our cross and carrying it daily, but he speaks of us thriving, of living life to the full, whatever is going on in our lives – and the way we do that is by being thoroughly rooted in him!

If you want to thrive the first thing you have to do is to be rooted in the right place – you have to be rooted well, which means your roots need to go down deep, and there needs to be room for your roots to expand so that you can get all the nutrients you need. You also need to be rooted in the right soil!

The starting point, if you want to thrive, is that you need to be rooted in Christ, v6 ‘just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord’

To be rooted in Christ, you need to be planted in him.

You can’t be planted in the world’s systems and values, and just have a sprinkling of Jesus over your life – he’s not there to give you a refreshing shower – he’s there for you to be rooted in – elsewhere in scripture another horticultural image is used of us being ‘grafted’ in to him.

The whole point of all this is that it is about us being ‘in him’ – rooted in him, grafted in him – so that our nutrients, all that gives us what we need to grow, to be healthy, to thrive, comes from him, not from some other source.

So, there’s a key word regarding how we received Christ, or how we receive Christ, if we haven’t yet done that – it’s receiving Jesus as Lord!

Jesus’ disciples received him as Lord. They left everything to follow him. They laid down everything, so that they could be rooted in him, not everything else that they carried from their past lives.

When Jesus is Lord, he is the one who directs our lives. He is the one whom we serve – not our dreams and aspirations, our wants and desires, but his. In Philippians 2:5, the apostle Paul writes, ‘have the same mindset as Christ Jesus’ – think like him, because he is your Lord.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Ezekiel prophesied of what God would do through Jesus, Ezekiel 36:26,27,

‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.’

So, if we want to thrive, we need to be rooted in Christ, and that means having him as Lord of our lives; truly being his disciples, following him, seeking to be like him, having his mindset, his way of thinking – having him flowing through us.

So, are you rooted in Christ? Is he Lord over your life? The one who leads and directs you? The one whom you are

obedient to?

If you are a Christian, and you are realising that you are not in the right place at the moment, that you are not truly rooted in Christ, then take this opportunity to turn to him, to say sorry to him, to bow your knee to him and acknowledge him as Lord of your life.

If you are not yet a Christian, at this critical time in our history, know that there is hope in Jesus, but to enter fully into that hope, you have to turn from your own way of doing things and follow Jesus, then you can join his adventure of bringing God’s Kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven. You can take that step right now. Ask God’s forgiveness for all that you’ve done wrong, thank Jesus for dying in your place on the cross, and ask God to come into your life by his Spirit to help you live for him.

If this is all a bit too much for you to comprehend at the moment, then come and join us on our Alpha course on video and Zoom on a Tuesday night. You can register to join in and get details through the tab ‘upcoming events’, on the church website.

Okay, so it’s one thing to be planted in the right soil, but if you want a plant to grow well, it needs to be cared for after it has been planted! (That’s where we are not very good with plants!!)

V6 continues like this: ‘…just as your received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him…’

Unlike most plants which are static, we as human beings are mobile – even if our mobility is restricted through the current situation in our world!

Our spiritual growth occurs at a heart and spirit level, but our mental processing affects it hugely, that’s why last year, we spent a good proportion of the year’s teaching focusing in on the outworking of Romans 12:2:

‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.’

In the passage we have read contrasts are made between those who are continuing to live in Christ, and those who have become mobile and have been distracted by other things, which have then hindered their growth, so that they do not thrive as well as they otherwise would.

At the start of the chapter Paul writes:-

READ v1-4, unpack as we read

– v2 ‘full riches of complete understanding ­– c.f. 2020 Vision verse

That the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened, so that we may know

- The hope of his calling

- The wealth of his glorious inheritance

- The immeasurable greatness of his power, towards us who believe

What is the aim of all that?

That we may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ!

It’s all about him! When he fills your vision, when you are caught up with him, it changes your perspective on everything else, because you know what it is to live in love! Then you thrive – whatever the circumstances!

I have been through some tough times in life – deep depression, marriage on the rocks, near fatal accident. Some people said to me at those times not to be surprised if I found myself doubting God, but in truth, because I was well rooted in Christ, he was my only hope through those times. When returning to church for the first time I had been given a CD by Delirious? – a popular Christian band at the time. It was before the old hymn had been rewritten as Cornerstone, which we sometimes sing. In the song Martin Smith sort of raps the lyrics ‘On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.’

When we are well rooted in Jesus, then we can stand, even in the tough times.

Paul continues, v2b,3

‘in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’

When we are rooted in him, we find that we are transformed from the pattern of this world, by the renewing of our minds, we develop the mindset of Christ. We gain security, love, wisdom, knowledge at a level that we would never find anywhere else.

Paul says, v4, ‘I tell you this so that no-one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

In v8 he continues:

‘See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.’

The Message helpfully puts these verses like this:

‘Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realise the fulness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fulness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.’

So firstly, we have, are you planted in the right place?

Are you planted in Jesus, or are you planted in the world’s and the flesh’s patterns of thinking and living, or those of other spiritual forces?

Secondly, are you staying in the place you have been planted in Christ, or are you moving around, serving more than one God, seeking to get what you want from other sources, rather than from Christ?

We will come back to this again and again as we go through this series looking at practical areas of living so that we can thrive in every aspect of life!

But thirdly, planted, staying where we should be, thirdly v7 ‘rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.’

We don’t only need to be planted; we don’t only need to stay where we are, in Christ, we need to be rooted in him.

Rooting is not something someone else can do for you – you have to put the roots down yourself.

My friend Basil, Julie may have been able to plant him in this Persimmon’s mug, we may water him – and the Holy Spirit waters us, if we are in Christ, but Basil wasn’t going to grow if he didn’t send out roots to absorb the nutrients he was being given! Likewise, God sends plenty of nutrients for us to feed on, but unless we send our roots down deep into Jesus, they may be there, but we don’t feed on them and they don’t feed our spirits and our souls, and we won’t thrive in the way God wants us to.

It’s no good tuning in to watch our service (or read these notes!) unless you engage with God. Having a blessed sprinkling and shower, feeling better, getting a buzz, is not the same as going deep with God, getting your roots right down into the heart and mind of God.

We do this by spending time in his presence – Be still and know that I am God. We do this by coming to him in worship, pouring out our hearts to him. We may not be gathered together physically as a body, that doesn’t mean we can’t worship God, we still can sing our hearts out to God, but not just sing, tell him how much he means to us, remind ourselves How great is our God!

We do this, we root down to get the nutrients by spending time in his Word, letting it feed our souls, our spirits, our minds. We spend time in prayer talking with and listening to God, pouring out our hearts to him – on our own, and as we gather as a church online, at present Sunday and Thursday evenings and Tuesday mornings, and in some of our Connect groups at other times in the week, and via Facebook prayer page, and vis Intercessors email group, or on the telephone with others.

When we root ourselves in him, then we are strengthened in the faith, we overflow with thankfulness, we are transformed into his likeness, our minds are renewed.

Why does this all happen?

The final two verses of our reading, v9,10:

‘For in Christ all the fulness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fulness.’

Jesus came that you might have life in all its fulness, and you enter into that fulness when you are rooted down into him, and then you thrive.

Be rooted to thrive this week. Whatever the week brings for you and yours. Don’t get distracted by other soils and places to get nutrients – make sure you get them through being well rooted into Christ.

Prayer - take time to pray that you might be well-rooted and that you might thrive. Give thanks for all God's goodness to you in Christ Jesus.

2020 Vision verse

May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, so that you may know

- The hope of his calling

- The wealth of his glorious inheritance and

- The immeasurable greatness of his power, towards us who believe

Have a good week, stay rooted, thrive in the turmoil and stay in touch.

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